Most of our time here on the blog we talk about nonfiction and fiction novel length books. But I’m curious to know how many of you prefer shorter fiction to longer works.
What sparked this curiosity was the announcement of The Story Prize finalists–The Story Prize is an award given annually “to honor short story collections, which other major book awards for fiction often overlook”–as well as a post I saw last week on GalleyCat asking whether writers should master writing short stories before moving ahead to the more challenging novel. It compared a novel to a symphony.
Personally, I think that question undermines the difficulty of writing short fiction making it sound like a stepping stone to something greater. Can’t a short story in and of itself be compared to a symphony? Does something have to be long to be complex?
Honestly, I haven’t read a huge selection of short stories, most of them being old classics, but of the ones I have like “The Interlopers” by Saki (H. H. Munro) and “Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl as well as others by Edgar Allen Poe, Earnest Hemingway, O. Henry and James Thurber, they have made a much deeper impact than many of the novels I’ve read. I especially like ones that pack a good punch at the end.
Have you read any of the story collections from the three finalists for The Story Prize: “Stay Awake” by Dan Chaon, “This Is How You Lose Her” by Junot Díaz, and “Battleborn” by Claire Vaye Watkins? Who’s your pick for the winner?
What sort of short stories do you read? Are there any you’d like to recommend?